Bulgaria will register strong harvest of maize and sunflower and weaker wheat output in 2017, the daily Capital reported on the basis of EC and local farmers’ projections. Wheat harvest is expected to fall by 6.4% y/y to 5.28 million tons, according to the EC’s forecast. Farmers added that the yield actually improved slightly compared to 2016, but the sown wheat area decreased by 7.0% y/y. Chairman of Bulgaria’s grain producers’ association Svetoslav Russalov commented that expectations regarding the wheat harvest were higher but drought and hailstorms in some regions affected it negatively. Barley output will be lower by 18.7% y/y to 580,000 tons in 2017, also due to lower sown area, according to the EC’s projections. Rapeseed production is expected to decrease by 6.6% y/y to 474,000 tons.
On the positive side, record sunflower output of 2.09 million tons, up by 15.7% y/y, is projected for 2017. This will be the highest sunflower harvest since 1993, boosted by higher sown sunflower area due to the crop’s high prices on commodity markets in Sep 2016, local representative of a foreign agricultural trading company commented for the media. The EC forecast that maize output will rise by 25.4% y/y to 2.78 million tons, but this will be due to base effects after the weaker maize output in 2016.